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When it comes to fast bowling, there are few who can speak with the authority and experience of veteran Indian pacer Venkatesh Prasad. Along with fellow Karnataka fast bowler Javagal Srinath, he formed a destructive opening partnership with the ball, which could rattle the best of oppositions. The ability to move the ball both ways with equal ease, and a slower ball which was extremely difficult to pick, gave him a lot of success both at home and abroad. After his illustrious career, he successfully transitioned into the role of a mentor and a coach with a number of teams before moving to Kings XI Punjab as the bowling coach this season.

He wasn’t around for playing the shortest format of the game, but the intelligent bowler knows a thing or two about bowling in T20s, stemming from his vast experience and keen observational abilities.

“You definitely need to have two or three varieties in today’s day and age,” Venky told “Gone are those days when you could only bowl inswingers or outswingers and get away. You need to be aware of the situation and there is a lot of pressure on the bowlers. They need to be smart when it comes to knowing the situation and execute their variation well. There is no scope for any bad delivery because the batsmen are looking to play their shots and you have got to be on the money.”

Choose what works best for you

As a bowling coach, Prasad is well aware of what it takes to make it in the tough world of fast bowling where even one mistake can prove deadly and the struggle to maintain fitness levels and playing form is all too real. His advice to the current crop of fast bowlers is simple - be a good student of the game.

“Any good fast bowler should be open to suggestions and be able to observe and grasp what they are taught. You should be a keen learner. Then you start picking up some good points from people and see if it suits your style of bowling. It is not as if you can incorporate all the good pointers in your bowling, rather you will have to choose what works the best for you,” he elaborated.

One young talent he was particularly happy to be working with at KXIP was the right-arm medium pacer Ankit Rajpoot, who he had observed since his early days playing for his state of Uttar Pradesh.

“Ankit Rajpoot has taken giant strides. It is very good to see him progress as I always felt that he had potential and a lot of promise as well, and he has lived up to that. Still, there is a lot of scope for improvement. I would like to see him graduate to the next level,” said the speedster.